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Breaking down the projected arbitration numbers

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There are some no-brainers, but there are also some that warrant discussion

MLB: Atlanta Braves at Philadelphia Phillies Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports

MLB Trade Rumors released their projected arbitration salaries yesterday. You can click on the link to see what all of the projected salaries are, but you’re here because you want to see what the Phillies are supposedly going to pay. Here are those totals:

  • Odubel Herrera – $11.6MM
  • Travis Jankowski – $900K
  • Zach Eflin – $6.0MM
  • Andrew Knapp – $1.2MM
  • Jose Alvarado – $1.9MM
  • Rhys Hoskins – $7.6MM
  • Ronald Torreyes – $1.6MM
  • Seranthony Dominguez – $800K
  • Roman Quinn – $700K

Let’s break this down by our own projections about who will stay and who will go.

The no-brainer offers

Rhys Hoskins might be the easiest one of the bunch. The team was not the same when he went out of the lineup and it showed. Look at how the offense performed before and after Hoskins’ injury:

Before: .238/.316/.402, 91 wRC+
After: .248/.324/.431, 100 wRC+

Oh, wow, ok nevermind then.

Ok, how about this? Paying $7.6M for Hoskins is relative bargain. Last year, those numbers the team put up after Hoskins went down included lots of playing time at first base for Brad Miller and J.T. Realmuto during games where each was batting on their best side of a platoon. But Realmuto was only there because he was hurt and Miller is most likely not coming back to the team. So, as of now, they do not have a first baseman that has the power this team truly needs.

Enter Hoskins. For this price, the Phillies won’t even blink.

The other no-brainer will be Alvarado. As frustrating as he might be, he is also one of the relievers Girardi would go to in high leverage situations. Was that a case of “last man standing” or did Girardi truly trust him? Either way, Alvarado represents one of the only relievers this team has under control that can generate outs via the strikeout. That’s not something they can take lightly when it comes to evaluating him and whether they should offer him arbitration.

The no-brainer non-tenders

Travis Jankowski performed admirably in 2021, but he is the type of player that should not have a guaranteed contract. Offering him a minor league deal might be something the team looks to do, but as far as guaranteed money (and the roster spot that comes with it) is not how to use their resources.

Odubel Herrera also had a decent season at the plate, but his issue will come down to money. His 93 wRC+ as a center fielder was 16th out of 20 players who qualified as a center fielder, meaning he isn’t worth this amount of money. Using that ~$11M to find another option, or giving the job to a platoon of younger players and reinvesting the money into another problem area, is what a smart team would do. Paying that amount of money for that kind of production would be giving in to mediocrity, something this team cannot afford to do in 2022.

The much discussed

Zach Eflin - I thought about adding him to the no-brainer list and he very well might be. But what if the medicals on his knee don’t look good? What if he is unable to pitch for half of the season? Granted, his initial prognosis and return date would mean that he should be ready for most of the season, but only the team knows for sure what everything looks like. If the see some things they don’t like, it’s possible that they non-tender him with an agreement to re-sign him at a lower price with lots of incentives to be able to reach that projected number. I’d lean more towards them offering him arbitration though.

Andrew Knapp - I wrote yesterday that it’s likely the team parts ways with him. He was truly bad in 2021 and spending even this much money on him is again a poor allocation of funds. However, it is also possible the team has a high value of his clubhouse presence and leadership skills. They might really, really want his rapport with the pitching staff to stay with the team. $1.2M isn’t a large number, so that line of thinking does have merit, but again, as with Herrera, is it the wisest use of their money?

Ronald Torreyes - Yes, he had some clutch hits. Yes, he helped when Alec Bohm was bad and Didi Gregorius got hurt. No, he is not worth giving guaranteed money to. Having Joe Girardi in the dugout means you can’t rule out his affinity for Torreyes, but again, why not just use that money on a player like Luke Williams who can do the same thing for league minimum and can offer more upside?

Seranthony Dominguez - After so many months of not being able to pitch, Dominguez returned to throw a single inning for the Phillies. That must have felt amazing for him, an incredible story. Unfortunately, the team will need to make a decision on him about 2022. He also falls into the “likely to get an offer” column, but it’s not as though the team can ignore his numbers as he was rehabbing. in 19 13 innings, he allowed 21 runs, walking 12 and striking out 23. That’s subpar. But as with Alvarado, the team doesn’t have much in the way of relievers with strikeout stuff. That’s should move the needle toward “offer arbitration” for Dominguez, but you never know.

Roman Quinn - Quinn suffering his season ending surgery was sad, but now the team is forced to make a decision. The projected number is quite low, something the team should definitely think about as they try to improve center field. However it’s not the amount of money that is the issue with Quinn. It’s the roster spot. Is the team willing to use a roster spot on him to see if he can return from a major injury? Remember, he tore his Achilles’, which tends to rob a player of a few steps in their speed. Since speed is the tool Quinn relies on the most, his losing a step or two because of the injury makes him quite average as a player, possibly even a tic below average. Is that worth the roster spot, especially when the team possesses more option at center field that are younger, cheaper and have more upside (Vierling, Haseley, Moniak)? It’s more than likely he, too, will be offered a minor league deal that is incentive laden to see if he can return as a speedster weapon off the bench.